Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Trialeurodes vaporariorum
(whitefly, greenhouse)



Trialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse)


  • Last modified
  • 29 March 2018
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Vector of Plant Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Trialeurodes vaporariorum
  • Preferred Common Name
  • whitefly, greenhouse
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta

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Trialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); scanning electron micrograph of pupa.
CaptionTrialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); scanning electron micrograph of pupa.
Copyright©Ian D. Bedford
Trialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); scanning electron micrograph of pupa.
PupaTrialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); scanning electron micrograph of pupa.©Ian D. Bedford
Trialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); two adults, together with an adult of Bemisia tabaci (bottom right).
CaptionTrialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); two adults, together with an adult of Bemisia tabaci (bottom right).
Copyright©Ian D. Bedford
Trialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); two adults, together with an adult of Bemisia tabaci (bottom right).
AdultsTrialeurodes vaporariorum (whitefly, greenhouse); two adults, together with an adult of Bemisia tabaci (bottom right).©Ian D. Bedford


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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Trialeurodes vaporariorum Westwood 1856

Preferred Common Name

  • whitefly, greenhouse

Other Scientific Names

  • Aleurochiton vaporariorum
  • Aleurodes papillifer Maskell
  • Aleurodes vaporariorum
  • Aleyrodes sonchi Kotinsky
  • Aleyrodes vaporariorum Westwood, 1856
  • Asterochiton vaporariorum Westwood
  • Dialeurodes vaporariorum
  • Trialeurodes mossopi
  • Trialeurodes natalensis
  • Trialeurodes natanlensis Corbett
  • Trialeurodes sonchi Kotinsky

International Common Names

  • English: glasshouse whitefly; greenhouse whitefly; whitefly, glasshouse
  • Spanish: mosca blanca de las hortalizas; mosca blanca de los invernaderos
  • French: aleurodes des serres; mouche blanche des serres
  • Russian: teplichnoj belokrylki
  • Chinese: tea whitefly
  • Portuguese: mosca blanca das estufas

Local Common Names

  • Croatia: bijele musice
  • Denmark: weibe fliege der gewachshauser
  • Finland: ansarijauhiainen
  • Germany: Schildlaus, Kohlmotten-; Weisse Fliege
  • Israel: knimat ash hachmamot
  • Italy: aleirode delle serre; aleirodes delle serre; aleurode del cavolo; alreurode delle serre
  • Netherlands: Witte vlieg
  • Norway: veksthusmjøllus
  • Poland: maczlika skarniowego
  • Serbia: bijele musice
  • Sweden: växthusmjöllus; vit flygare

EPPO code

  • TRIAMS (Trialeurodes mossopi)
  • TRIANA (Trialeurodes natalensis)
  • TRIASO (Trialeurodes sonchi)
  • TRIAVA (Trialeurodes vaporariorum)

Taxonomic Tree

Top of page
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Hemiptera
  •                         Suborder: Sternorrhyncha
  •                             Unknown: Aleyrodoidea
  •                                 Family: Aleyrodidae
  •                                     Genus: Trialeurodes
  •                                         Species: Trialeurodes vaporariorum


Top of page Eggs

Eggs are approximately conical in shape, yellowish-white turning to purplish grey after 2 days and 0.25 mm long. They are oviposited on a short pedicel, which is inserted in epidermal cells on the lower leaf surface, often in a circle or a crescent.


Nymphs or 'crawlers' are usually pale green, but can also range from yellow to dark brown. They are oval, flat and resemble scale insects. There are four or possibly five leg segments and two to three antennal segments. Segmentation is not clear and most specimens will appear to have only three leg segments and two antennal segments. Small amounts of powdery white wax are usually produced after the crawler settles and begins feeding. The first nymph is mobile, whereas later nymphal stages are immobile. They resemble soft scale insects, but have a vasiform orifice on the back through which honeydew is expelled. There are four nymphal stages with the final stage beginning as a feeding nymph before it becomes a pupa. The final larval stage begins as a flat translucent disc, but as it develops through to the pupa a waxy fringe begins to develop around the margin. As this grows, the larva becomes more 'pork pie' shaped.


The pupa is the final stage of the fourth nymphal instar and is assumed to be at the point where the nymph stops feeding and apolysis begins. The pupa becomes a milky-yellow colour and, as the adult develops within, red eyes become visible through the cuticle. The marginal fringe, which is formed from many fused wax rods, is very obvious at this stage. Downward curving wax setae are also visible all around the edge of the marginal plain. On hirsute leaves, the pupae often develop long, waxy setae on the dorsal surface. These are not always present on pupae that have developed on glabrous leaves.


Adults are about 1.5 mm long, white and resemble tiny moths. The wings are pale yellow, held relatively flat when in repose and are coated with a pure white waxy bloom.


Top of page T. vaporariorum is a widely distributed pest of ornamental and horticultural plants. It is not native to Europe, but has become successfully established in glasshouses.

Distribution Table

Top of page

The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Continent/Country/RegionDistributionLast ReportedOriginFirst ReportedInvasiveReferenceNotes


BangladeshPresentEPPO, 2014
ChinaWidespreadLi et al., 1995; Zhu and Ju, 1990; EPPO, 2014
-FujianPresentPan et al., 2007
-HebeiPresentZheng et al., 2005
-HeilongjiangPresentWang et al., 2000
-Hong KongPresentEPPO, 2014
-ShandongPresentLiu et al., 2003
-ShanxiPresentChu et al., 2008
IndiaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
-Himachal PradeshPresentAnjana and Mehta, 2008
IndonesiaPresentEPPO, 2014
-SulawesiPresentNasruddin and Mound, 2016
IranPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
IsraelPresentKajita, 1986; EPPO, 2014
JapanPresentMasuda and Kikuchi, 1993; EPPO, 2014
JordanPresentEPPO, 2014
Korea, Republic ofPresentEPPO, 2014
PhilippinesPresentEPPO, 2014
SingaporePresentAVA, 2001
Sri LankaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
TurkeyPresentYasarakinci and Hincal, 1996; Erdogan et al., 2012; EPPO, 2014
UzbekistanPresentZakhidov, 2001
YemenPresentEPPO, 2014


AlgeriaPresentTalaboulma, 1989; Kebir, 1990
EthiopiaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
KenyaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
MoroccoPresentByrne et al., 1990
RéunionPresentEPPO, 2014
South AfricaPresentEPPO, 2014
-Canary IslandsPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
ZimbabwePresentEPPO, 2014

North America

BermudaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
CanadaPresentEPPO, 2014
-AlbertaPresentSteiner, 1992
-British ColumbiaPresentEPPO, 2014
-QuebecPresentLambert et al., 2003
MexicoPresentArteaga-Garibay et al., 1993; Lopez and Botto, 1995; EPPO, 2014
USAPresentCastane and Albajes, 1994; EPPO, 2014
-AlabamaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-AlaskaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-ArizonaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-CaliforniaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-ColoradoPresentByrne et al., 1990
-District of ColumbiaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-FloridaPresentOsborne and Landa, 1992
-GeorgiaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-HawaiiPresentLynch and Johnson, 1991; EPPO, 2014
-IdahoPresentByrne et al., 1990
-IllinoisPresentByrne et al., 1990
-IndianaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-IowaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-MainePresentByrne et al., 1990
-MarylandPresentByrne et al., 1990
-MassachusettsPresentByrne et al., 1990
-MichiganPresentByrne et al., 1990
-MississippiPresentByrne et al., 1990
-MissouriPresentByrne et al., 1990
-NebraskaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-New JerseyPresentByrne et al., 1990
-New MexicoPresentByrne et al., 1990
-New YorkPresentByrne et al., 1990
-OhioPresentByrne et al., 1990
-OregonPresentByrne et al., 1990
-PennsylvaniaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-Rhode IslandPresentByrne et al., 1990
-TexasPresentByrne et al., 1990
-UtahPresentByrne et al., 1990
-VirginiaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-WashingtonPresentByrne et al., 1990
-West VirginiaPresentByrne et al., 1990
-WisconsinPresentByrne et al., 1990

Central America and Caribbean

BarbadosPresentEPPO, 2014
BelizePresentEPPO, 2014
Costa RicaPresentAlpizar, 1993; EPPO, 2014
CubaPresentEPPO, 2014
Dominican RepublicPresentEPPO, 2014
El SalvadorPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
GuadeloupePresentEPPO, 2014
GuatemalaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
HondurasPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
JamaicaPresentEPPO, 2014
MartiniquePresentEPPO, 2014
Netherlands AntillesPresentde Goey, 1993; van Giessen et al., 1995
PanamaPresentZachrisson, 1992
Puerto RicoPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014

South America

ArgentinaPresentLopez and Botto, 1995; EPPO, 2014
BrazilPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
-Rio Grande do SulPresentMarsaro Júnior et al., 2015
-Sao PauloPresentLourenção et al., 2008
ChilePresentOrtiz, 1995; Estay, 1993; EPPO, 2014
ColombiaPresentRodriguez et al., 1996; EPPO, 2014
EcuadorPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
French GuianaAbsent, confirmed by surveyEPPO, 2014
PeruPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
UruguayPresentDolores et al., 2003
VenezuelaPresentEPPO, 2014


AlbaniaPresentBalliu and Cota, 2007
AustriaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
BelgiumPresentHeungens and Buysse, 1991a; de Cock, 1993; Brasch et al., 1994; Bolckmans et al., 1995; EPPO, 2014
Bosnia-HercegovinaPresentKohnic et al., 2006
BulgariaPresentLoginova, 1990; EPPO, 2014
CroatiaPresentZanic, 2006; Simala et al., 2015
Czech RepublicPresentByrne et al., 1990
DenmarkPresentBroedsgard et al., 1993; EPPO, 2014
EstoniaPresentHiiesar et al., 1994; Malumphy and Ostrauskas, 2013
FinlandPresentEPPO, 2014
FrancePresentMalezieux et al., 1995; Trottin-Caudal, 1992; Meesters and Pitsioudis, 1994; EPPO, 2014
GermanyPresentKress, 1992; Albert et al., 1993; Dirks and Wilke, 1993; Kassis and Michelakis, 1993; Ruisinger and Backhaus, 1994; EPPO, 2014
GreecePresentBoukadida, 1991; Abdalla, 1992; EPPO, 2014
HungaryPresentSzabo and Lenteren, 1995; EPPO, 2014
IrelandPresentEPPO, 2014
ItalyPresentVacante, 1995; Colombo, 1993; Giorgini and Viggiani, 1994; EPPO, 2014
-SardiniaPresentNannini et al., 2007
LatviaPresentZarinysh, 2002
LithuaniaPresentMalumphy and Ostrauskas, 2013; EPPO, 2014
MaltaPresentEPPO, 2014
MontenegroPresentRadonjic and Hrncic, 2011
NetherlandsPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
NorwayPresentEPPO, 2014
PolandPresentBaranowski and Gorski, 1991; Domagala et al., 1992; EPPO, 2014
PortugalPresentEPPO, 2014
-AzoresPresentEPPO, 2014
-MadeiraPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
-Portugal (mainland)PresentByrne et al., 1990
RomaniaPresentByrne et al., 1990
Russian FederationPresentTverdyukov et al., 1994
-Russian Far EastPresentYarkulov FYa, 2008
SerbiaPresentPeric et al., 2009; EPPO, 2014
SpainPresentCabello Garcia et al., 1996; Albajes et al., 1994; Arno and Gabarra, 1994; EPPO, 2014
SwedenPresentByrne et al., 1990
SwitzerlandPresentRavensberg et al., 1993
UKPresentGorman et al., 1998; EPPO, 2014
-Channel IslandsPresentByrne et al., 1990
Yugoslavia (former)PresentPagliarini and Jasek, 1989


AustraliaPresentByrne et al., 1990; EPPO, 2014
-South AustraliaPresentGambley et al., 2010
New ZealandPresentBeck et al., 1993; EPPO, 2014
Papua New GuineaPresentEPPO, 2014

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page The total world record of greenhouse whitefly host plants is approximately 859 species, belonging to 469 genera in 121 families.

Many species of plants grown under glass are liable to attack by T. vaporariorum. In temperate countries, the most severely affected crops are aubergine, cucumber, beans sweet peppers, tomatoes and a large number of ornamentals, including species of Fuchsia, Gerbera, Pelargonium, Solanum and chrysanthemums, poinsettias and primulas.

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Actinidia chinensis (Chinese gooseberry)ActinidiaceaeUnknown
Ageratina adenophora (Croftonweed)AsteraceaeUnknown
Apium graveolens (celery)ApiaceaeOther
Camellia sinensis (tea)TheaceaeUnknown
Capsicum (peppers)SolanaceaeUnknown
Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)SolanaceaeUnknown
Chenopodium giganteum (large lambsquarters)ChenopodiaceaeUnknown
Chrysanthemum (daisy)AsteraceaeMain
Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)CucurbitaceaeOther
Cucumis melo (melon)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cucurbita (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeUnknown
Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeUnknown
Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)CucurbitaceaeMain
Cyphomandra betacea (tree tomato)SolanaceaeUnknown
Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia)EuphorbiaceaeMain
Fragaria (strawberry)RosaceaeUnknown
Gerbera (Barbeton daisy)AsteraceaeUnknown
Gerbera jamesonii (African daisy)AsteraceaeUnknown
Glycine max (soyabean)FabaceaeUnknown
Gossypium hirsutum (Bourbon cotton)MalvaceaeMain
Helianthus annuus (sunflower)AsteraceaeUnknown
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis (China-rose)MalvaceaeUnknown
Impatiens (balsam)BalsaminaceaeOther
Ipomoea (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeUnknown
Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeUnknown
Lantana camara (lantana)VerbenaceaeUnknown
Malva sylvestrisMalvaceaeOther
Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram)LamiaceaeMain
Pelargonium graveolens (Rose geranium)GeraniaceaeUnknown
Persea americana (avocado)LauraceaeMain
Phaseolus (beans)FabaceaeUnknown
Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeMain
Psidium guajava (guava)MyrtaceaeUnknown
Rhododendron (Azalea)EricaceaeUnknown
Rosa (roses)RosaceaeMain
Rubus idaeus (raspberry)RosaceaeUnknown
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeMain
Solanum tuberosum (potato)SolanaceaeOther
Sonchus (Sowthistle)AsteraceaeUnknown
Stellaria media (common chickweed)CaryophyllaceaeWild host
Tagetes erecta (African marigold)AsteraceaeUnknown

Growth Stages

Top of page Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

Top of page
SignLife StagesType
Fruit / honeydew or sooty mould
Inflorescence / honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves / abnormal colours
Leaves / abnormal forms
Leaves / necrotic areas
Stems / honeydew or sooty mould
Whole plant / dwarfing

Biology and Ecology

Top of page All whiteflies have a similar life cycle that includes eggs, a mobile crawler (first-instar nymph), non-mobile second-, third- and fourth-instar nymphs and a non-feeding puparium (part of the fourth-instar nymphal stage), and the adult.

Eggs are laid on their ends with a pedicel on the tip and are inserted into a slit in the leaf or into stomata. T. vaporariorum lays its eggs in a circular fashion on leaves with no hairs, but on pubescent leaves, no obvious pattern is evident.

Crawlers are the first-instar nymphs that hatch out of eggs. After hatching, crawlers wander around the leaf until they are successful in locating the sap of the leaf from plant phloem. Once they find a good feeding location, they remain immobile until they become adults.

Fourth-instar nymphs can be considered to undergo three substages, during the last of which the adult begins to form under the surface, so that the eyes and yellow body pigment of the adult may be visible. Adults force open a 'T'-shaped slit as they emerge from the shell of the fourth instar. After several hours the wings are dried, pigmentation is complete and they are able to fly. Adults feed on leaf sap with piercing, sucking mouthparts. Although capable of flying for 2 or more hours, whiteflies commonly make relatively short flights from plant to plant or field to field; however, they may be carried great distances by wind or transported on plants. Whiteflies land on particular plants mostly by chance, choosing to stay on desirable or moving off undesirable ones.

The duration of the immature stages varies with temperature and host plant; at 21°C, it is about 18 days. The total period from egg to adult at this temperature is 27 days.

In cold climates, this whitefly is found only in glasshouses, whereas further south, it is found in the open, on both wild and cultivated plants. Further south, adults may also overwinter on wild plants growing outdoors if the climatic conditions are not too severe.

Natural enemies

Top of page
Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Amitus arcturus Parasite
Amitus fuscipennis Parasite
Anthocoris nemorum Predator Adults/Nymphs
Aschersonia aleyrodis Pathogen Nymphs
Aschersonia papillata Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Aschersonia placenta Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs Ecuador; South America; Colombia
Barberiella formicoides Predator Adults/Nymphs
Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Adults/Nymphs Romania
Chrysopa pallens Predator Adults/Nymphs
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Adults/Nymphs
Chrysoperla carnea Predator Adults/Nymphs Russia
Chrysoperla harrisii Predator Adults/Nymphs
Clitostethus arcuatus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Coccinella septempunctata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Coenosia attenuata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Delphastus pusillus Predator
Deraeocoris serenus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Dicyphus errans Predator Adults/Nymphs
Dicyphus tamaninii Predator Adults/Nymphs Spain
Encarsia adrianae Parasite
Encarsia costaricensis Parasite
Encarsia formosa Predator/parasite Nymphs Australia; Austria; Belgium; British Columbia; Bulgaria; California; China; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Crete; Hawaii; Hungary; Irish Republic; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kyushu; Maryland; Moldova; Netherlands; New York; Norway; Ohio; Poland; Romania; Sicily; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; UK; USSR; Uzbekistan; Republic of Georgia Hibiscus; ornamental plants; tomatoes
Encarsia guadeloupae Parasite
Encarsia inaron Parasite
Encarsia japonica Parasite
Encarsia lutea Predator/parasite Nymphs
Encarsia luteola Parasite
Encarsia lycopersici Parasite
Encarsia meritoria Parasite Adults/Nymphs
Encarsia mineoi Parasite
Encarsia nigricephala Parasite
Encarsia pergandiella Predator/parasite Nymphs Israel; Italy ornamental plants; vegetables
Encarsia porteri Parasite Nymphs
Encarsia sophia Parasite
Encarsia transvena Parasite Adults/Nymphs Hawaii tomatoes
Encarsia tricolor Predator/parasite Nymphs Spain
Eretmocerus corni Parasite Nymphs
Eretmocerus haldemani Parasite Adults/Nymphs Hawaii ornamental plants
Lecanicillium lecanii Pathogen Nymphs Italy; Romania; Russia; USSR cucumbers
Macrolophus caliginosus Predator Adults/Nymphs Spain; Netherlands
Macrolophus nubilus Predator Adults/Nymphs Russia
Macrolophus rubi Predator Adults/Nymphs
Macrolophus rufi Predator Adults/Nymphs
Nephaspis oculata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Nesidiocoris tenuis Predator Adults/Nymphs
Orius majusculus Predator Adults/Nymphs
Orius niger Predator Adults/Nymphs
Paecilomyces farinosus Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Paecilomyces fumosoroseus Pathogen
Paecilomyces fumosoroseus beijingensis Pathogen Adults/Nymphs
Paecilomyces lilacinus Pathogen Nymphs
Propylea japonica Predator Adults/Nymphs
Propylea quatuordecimpunctata Predator Adults/Nymphs
Solenopsis invicta Predator Adults/Nymphs

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page T. vaporariorum is attacked by species of Encarsia, Eretmocerus and fungal pathogens, many of which have been used as biological control agents in glasshouses. The minute chalcid wasp Encarsia formosa is commercially produced and sent from country to country for release onto crops in glasshouses. Consequently, it is not possible to provide an accurate distribution for this natural enemy, which originated in North America and has been introduced to Australia and Hawaii, USA. The most likely distribution of natural enemies important in the field are provided in the tabular data.


Top of page

Whiteflies damage plants directly by sucking sap from leaves and indirectly by transmitting viruses and producing a sticky secretion known as honeydew, which prevents crops from functioning normally, as well as acting as a substrate for fungal growth (sooty moulds).

Whitefly adults and nymphs feed by inserting their proboscis into the leaf, penetrating the phloem or nutrient conducting vessels and withdrawing sap. As it feeds, the whitefly injects saliva into plant tissues. Whitefly feeding removes nutrients from the plant which may result in stunting, poor growth, defoliation, reduced yields and even death in extreme cases. The extent of damage caused by feeding is generally directly proportional to the whitefly population and low populations rarely have much impact. On certain plants, stunting or abnormal coloration can be caused due to the physiological stress of the feeding. Plants stressed by the removal of sap due to heavy whitefly feeding may require more irrigation.

Whiteflies secrete significant quantities of honeydew as they feed. When populations of whiteflies are high, honeydew production can be copious, dripping down leaves onto fruit. Honeydew becomes a serious problem when it is colonized by black, sooty mould fungi, blackening leaf or fruit surfaces. This can render fruit unmarketable and block out sunlight, inhibiting photosynthesis.

T. vaporariorum became an economical important insect pest of greenhouse vegetable and ornamental crops in the middle 1970s in Beijing, China. More recently, it has become a serious horticultural pest within areas of southern Europe, where an increase in the incidence of Tomato chlorosis virus may be attributed to it. Within the UK, insecticide resistance has led to increased problems for growers of shrubs such as Ceanothus and soft fruit crops such as strawberries.

Virus transmission

The piercing and sucking mouthparts of T. vaporariorum provide an excellent mode for transmitting disease-causing viruses from one plant to another. As immature stages do not move on to new plants, virus transmission is a concern only with adult whiteflies.

Some of the more important viruses spread by T. vaporariorum are Beet pseudo-yellows virus (cucumbers, melons, lettuces and sugarbeet), Tomato infectious chlorosis virus and Lettuce infectious yellow virus. Further viruses are being identified and characterized which include Strawberry pallidosis virus (Tzanetakis et al., 2004).

Detection and Inspection

Top of page Regular field monitoring is important for the detection and management of T. vaporariorum and should be part of an overall IPM programme. The intensity of monitoring is dependent on the perceived pest threat and the likelihood of management action being required. If insecticides or beneficial insects are to be applied, a good estimate of whitefly populations should be made before and after treatment, as treatments should be made according to established action thresholds if they are available. Tools available for monitoring whiteflies include visual sampling (leaf turning), yellow sticky traps, pan counts and vacuum samples.

Visual sampling by leaf examination is the most common and accurate method of monitoring whiteflies. Although nymphs are difficult to count without a microscope, they are probably the most accurate reflection of the infestation level. Carefully tagged leaf samples can be taken back to a laboratory for counting of nymphs if necessary. Adults should be sampled in the early morning when they are not as active.

Bright yellow sticky traps are useful for tracking the movement of whiteflies into areas or fields or at the beginning of the season. When used over a large area in a co-ordinated fashion, they can provide valuable information about population movement to growers in a region. However, counts of whiteflies on traps are not a reliable indicator of population density and should not be used alone to determine the need for treatments. They can be useful for determining when visual sampling should begin. Yellow sticky traps catch only adult whiteflies plus the adults of a wide variety of other small flying insects such as leafminers, aphids and even parasitic wasps. Traps must be checked and cleaned frequently to remain effective; during periods of intense migration, cleaning may be required every 24 hours.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

Top of page T. vaporariorum may be confused with the tobacco, cotton or sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci) and the silverleaf whitefly (B. argentifolii), but it is larger and more triangular in appearance (See Pictures). At rest, both B. argentifolii and B. tabaci have wings more closely pressed to the body than T. vaporariorum. It has to be noted though that B. argentifolii is now no longer recognized as a separate species and is now referred to as the B biotype of B. tabaci.

The fourth instar or puparium can also be used to distinguish B. tabaci from T. vaporariorum as glasshouse pests. T. vaporariorum is 'pork pie shaped', regularly ovoid, has straight sides (viewed laterally) and in most instances, 12 large, waxy setae. In B. tabaci, the puparium has an irregular 'pancake-like' oval shape, with oblique sides and shorter, finer setae. Although the number of enlarged setae in B. tabaci and T. vaporariorum can vary according to host plant morphology, the two caudal setae are always stout and nearly always as long as the vasiform orifice in B. tabaci.

T. vaporariorum is similar to the banded wing whitefly, T. abutiloneum, but can be distinguished by the pupal case, which does not have the central dorsal dark area observed in T. abutiloneum. In the UK, the closely related cabbage whitefly (Aleyrodes proletella) lives outdoors, but only on brassicas and related plants. It can be distinguished from T. vaporariorum because it has a small dark patch on each wing. Another whitefly that might be confused with T. vaporariorum is the strawberry whitefly (T. packardi) which is smaller and has less elongated wings.

Prevention and Control

Top of page

Cultural Control

It is important to ensure that plants are not infested with T. vaporariorum before being taken into the glasshouse. This is equally as important when whitefly populations are already present in the glasshouse, due to the risk of introducing novel insecticide resistant strains. A suitable insecticide can be applied as a routine precaution. Recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of UV absorbent plastic films at reducing T. vaporariorum infestations on protected crops (Mutwiwa et al., 2005).

Biological Control

Biological control has been widely used in glasshouses, especially since the development of insecticide-resistant whiteflies, and is chiefly based on the chalcid wasp Encarsia formosa and entomopathogenic fungi (Osborne and Landa, 1992).

E. formosa parasitizes T. vaporariorum, each female being capable of laying 50-200 eggs during its lifespan of 10-14 days. Each egg is inserted into advanced nymphal stages which are subsequently killed. Scales containing parasites are highly visible because they are black. Successful control can be obtained if the parasite is established on plants when natural infestations are small. The parasitoid is usually shipped as parasitized scales on strips. For cucumbers, a typical rate of release is 12,500 parasitoids per ha in areas where T. vaporariorum is a habitual pest, starting at the beginning of the season. In tomato, most growers introduce parasitized scales weekly at the rate of 5000/ha as soon as plants are available. Once the parasitoid is established, it is important to avoid removing from the glasshouse leaves with black scales from which adult wasps have not emerged. Empty scales can be spotted by holding leaves up to the light and examining them for emergence holes (Sprau, 1990; Lynch and Johnson, 1991; Ruisinger and Backhaus, 1994; van Lenteren et al., 1996; van Roermund et al., 1997).

The predatory beetle Delphastus pusillus is very effective against greenhouse and sweet potato whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). Both the larval and adult beetles feed on all stages of T. vaporariorum and will eat spider mites when whitefly are not available.

Lacewings (species of Chrysoperla) are also used as general predators of glasshouse pests and will consume whiteflies.

The fungal pathogen Verticillium lecanii attacks whiteflies and thrips and can be a useful control agent in situations where the crop is grown in high humidities (Masuda and Kikuchi, 1993). The disease attacks young as well as adults, taking about 1-2 weeks to develop. Commercial preparations are available (Ravensburg et al., 1990, 1993). Microbial insecticides based on the entomopathogenic fungus Paecilomyces fumosoroseus have also been used for the control of T. vaporariorum (Bolckmans et al., 1995; Sterk et al., 1996).

Host-Plant Resistance

Soria et al. (1996) showed the participation of both antixenosis and antibiosis resistance mechanisms against T. vaporariorum in an accession of melon (C. melo var. agrestis). Lambert et al. (1995) investigated possible resistance mechanisms in soyabean and discovered that trichome erectness was a factor. Cultivars supporting lower whitefly populations had higher erectness ratings (trichomes flat on leaf surface) than accessions with higher whitefly populations. An investigation of epicuticular lipid composition also revealed that soyabean accessions with low levels of luteol were more susceptible to whitefly colonization (both T. vaporariorum and Bemisia tabaci).

Chemical Control

Many recommended insecticides give some control (Heungens and Buysse, 1991a, 1991b), but strains of T. vaporariorum resistant to one or other of them have become established, compounded by the fact that fewer insecticides are registered for glasshouse use. Imidacloprid, fenpropathrin, bifenthrin (Zhu and Ju, 1990), buprofezin (Stenseth and Singh, 1990; de Cock, 1993), deltamethrin, fenvalerate, dimethoate and pymetrozine are all currently used for whitefly control, dependent on resistance levels. Most insecticides used are only effective against adults, so that repeated treatments at 3- to 5-day intervals are necessary for several weeks before control can be achieved. It is important to choose insecticides and methods of application that are not damaging to biological control agents (Hayashi, 1996). A new range of environmentally safer insecticides have recently become available within the UK and Europe for controlling whiteflies. These have a physical activity and are therefore outside of the legislation that controls the use of biological and chemical insecticides. These products appear to control adult whiteflies by sticking their wings together. Juvenile whitefly are controlled by a suffocation effect.

Insecticide resistance

The synthetic pyrethroids were the most effective insecticides for greenhouse whitefly control, when they were first introduced in the end of the 1970s. But after several years of application, whitefly control with both fenvalerate and deltamethrin became very difficult in glasshouses. In the late 1980s, buprofezin was used for whitefly control instead of pyrethroids. Recent sampling of populations of T. vaporariorum for insecticide resistance are described by Gorman et al. (1988) for Europe, Ortega Arenas et al. (1998) for Mexico and by Omer et al. (1993) for Hawaii, USA. Resistance to buprofezin and imidacloprid has recently been confirmed.


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